Councilmember says border wall would hurt San Diego economy, environment

Calls for anti-wall resolution by full Council
Posted at 7:40 AM, Sep 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-19 10:40:00-04

Councilmember Georgette Gomez is calling for the San Diego City Council to officially oppose construction of President Trump's "Border Wall." But, she says her opposition has nothing to do with her feelings about the President, or about the need for immigration reform.

Gomez told 10News she thinks a wall would hurt San Diego's economy and environment.

"As leaders of the 8th largest city in the nation, to be silent on the wall is a disgrace," she says.

Gomez will host a protest and rally in front of City Hall Tuesday, to bring community advocates together. It starts at 1 pm in the Civic Center Plaza.

After that, she will ask the full City Council to vote on a resolution opposing the wall.

"It's important for the city of San Diego to stand up and protect our back yard," she says. "We need to tell Washington DC that this is not what we want or believe."

Gomez says money spent on the wall would be better served to improve infrastructure to make crossing easier, improving the flow of traffic and helping San Diego become an even bigger hub for international commerce. That, she says, could add billions to the local economy.

"We already see it with the Cross Border Express," she says, referring to the pedestrian bridge built to the Tijuana airport. It lets travelers get across the border without having to go through the San Ysidro Point of Entry.

In addition, she says the construction to widen and stream-line the Port of Entry is a good start, but more needs to be done.

"We should be investing in our infrastructure, but creating a wall does the opposite of what we're trying to achieve," says Gomez.

In addition, she thinks construction on the wall could hurt the environment around the Tijuana River.

"Right now, if you want to go to the border, you can't drive down there. You have to park your car and walk," she says. "But if they build a wall, you need heavy equipment. So that's going to be brought in by vehicles and heavy machinery. They'll have to drive through sensitive habitat."

Gomez says recent construction on the fence that currently exists was given a waiver so it didn't need an envioronmental impact review. She fears the same things could happen again.

"Regardless of how I feel about the wall, every project should have an EIR done so we know what to expect and what we can prevent," she says.

Gomez says members of the Sierra Club, the Human Resources Commission and the American Friends Service Committee will be at her rally Tuesday.